Image via Unsplash

Case study: how to innovate a traditional industry with mobile technologies

We were approached by Top Marine, a leading floating marina solutions company in Nordics, that was looking to innovate their price offering process through digitalization and mobile solutions. As a high growth company, Top Marine was sending out a significant number of price offers to their potential clients around the world. But putting together price offers was also one of their biggest obstacles in their customer journey.

Bidding of marina solutions was made in specialized CAD programs requiring the hand of an engineer or a project manager. While made with high quality, there were a number of offers that didn’t grow into projects — meaning a waste of time and working hours for the company, as every offer was custom-made for each client’s specific needs. This obstacle was particularly painful during the trade fairs, where every second is counted and every contact is crucial.

“Our app created quite a buzz among our competitors!” Andry Prodel, Top Marine CEO

We started by looking deep into the customer problem and business needs, what were the most crucial elements of the process and what would be the key feature or tool to solve this problem. Top Marine needed a solution that would work both on desktop computers and tablets, offline and online. It had to be plain simple and convenient, ideally to be understood for both engineers as well as clients.

Brainstorming solutions to any customer problem, we work together as a team, having a wide range of combined experiences, both creative and technical minds around the table. During one of those sessions, we got inspiration from our previous game development experience and decided to build this platform using some game development frameworks. This decision undoubtedly offered the best solution for all of the required needs but it also offered a much shorter development time and cost.

Of course, this wasn’t the most straightforward approach — for our competitors, who are interested in selling as much development hours as possible, the most logical solution was to build everything from scratch — offering both native web and android app. So it happened that our proposed budget for the project was over three times smaller than our main competitors’ whereby our own hourly rates are on average higher than theirs.

This is something we have actually seen before — although we don’t have an in-house development team and our own hourly rates are often higher than competitors’, we still manage to make better project offerings for development than competing development companies. This is partially because we are always interested in finding the best solutions and are not tied to specific technologies, and we don’t need to sell as much development hours as possible for a specific development environment.
Additionally, our prices for development cannot be in principle higher than competitors’ as all of the development companies have project management included in their quotas just like we do. However, our own long-term development partners do not charge us for project management as we already take care of it.

We ended up building a plain simple, game-like drag and drop tool that reduced the project offering time over ten times from an hour of work to a couple of minutes. It is like a virtual Lego that is easily understandable for any customer. Top Marine employees could now build their offerings together with the customer having the scope of the project constantly on sight.

At the moment when the potential customer leaves Top Marine booth on a trade fair, she already has a pdf offer on her e-mail and Top Marine own employees can continue networking without getting lost behind the computer.

Here’s a demo on how you could now design a pontoon bridge in a minute

The whole development of the project only took two months and after 1,5 months, Top Marine already tested the app on the ultimate battlefield — trade fair. Here’s what the CEO of Top Marine, Andry Prodel wrote us that day: “Huge thanks for your help! Our app created quite a buzz among our competitors! Customers were really satisfied with an instant detailed offer.” They managed to close a deal on the very first day of the fair, which is quite a unique accomplishment for products in such a scale.

Read also: 6 technologies that are changing the way we live and how to use them for your business

Innovation and digitalization are not the most convenient things to do, yet there is no other way to grow your business or eventually to even survive in this digital era, because if you won’t do it, your competitors sure will. It was not very convenient for Top Marine to invest in a rather vague and uncertain vision, yet there is a reason they have been selected as the number one Company of the Year in 2014, in Estonia.

by Erik Ehasoo, Business Developer, ICT Futurist & Opportunist

Don’t want to stay behind? Want to use innovation for smart growth? Contact us today for support with your IT development: